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Republic Acts

Republic Act No. 1401





Section 1. Republic Act Numbered Four hundred and nine is amended by inserting between sections thirty-eight and thirty-nine thereof a new Article, to be known as Article VIII-A, to read as follows:

The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

"Sec. 38-A. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. There shall be a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in the City of Manila for which a judge who shall possess the same qualifications, enjoy the same privileges and receive the same salary as judges of courts of first instance, shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.

"Provisions of the Judiciary Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases after the effectivity of this Act:

"(a) Criminal cases cognizable by the Municipal Court and the Court of First Instance of Manila wherein the accused is under sixteen years of age at the time of the trial;cralaw

"(b) Cases involving custody, guardianship, adoption, paternity and acknowledgment;cralaw

"(c) Annulment of marriages, legal separation of spouses, and action for support;cralaw

"(d) Proceedings brought under the provisions of articles one hundred sixteen, two hundred twenty-five, two hundred fifty-two and three hundred thirty-two of the Civil Code;cralaw

"(e) Petitions for the declaration of absence and for the change of name;cralaw

"(f) Actions for the separation of property of spouses;cralaw

"(g) Proceedings affecting a dependent or neglected child, as hereinafter defined.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

"The court shall likewise have such incidental powers as are generally possessed by courts of first instance.

"If any question involving any of the above matters should arise as an incident in any case pending in the ordinary courts, said incident shall be determined in the main case.

"Sec. 38-B. "Dependent" or "neglected" child defined. The term "dependent child" or "neglected child" shall mean any child under sixteen years of age who is dependent upon the public for support or who is destitute, homeless or abandoned; or who has no proper parental care or guardianship, or who habitually begs or receives alms, or who is found living in any house of ill fame or with any vicious or disreputable person, or whose home, by reason of neglect, cruelty or depravity on the part of its parents, guardian or other person in whose care it may be, is an unfit place for such child.

"Sec. 38-C. Proceedings concerning a "dependent" or "neglected" child. The Social Welfare Administrator or his representative who is a resident of the city, having knowledge of a child in the city who appears to be a "dependent" or "neglected" child may file with the clerk of the court a written petition, setting forth the facts constituting the child "dependent" or "neglected;" which petition shall be verified by the affidavit of the petitioner. It shall be sufficient, if the affidavit shall be upon information and belief. Such petition shall set forth the name of the parent or parents of such child, if known, and their residence; and if such child has no parent living, then the name and residence of the guardian of such child, if it has one.

"Upon the filing of such petition, the judge of said court shall fix the day and time for the hearing of such petition. If it appears that one or both of such parents, or guardian, if there be no parents, reside in the city, the clerk of said court shall immediately issue summons, which shall include a copy of the petition, and which shall be served on such parent, parents, or guardian, if any, if either can be found in the city, not less than two days before the time fixed for said hearing, requiring them to appear on said day and hour to show cause, if any, why such child should not be declared by said court to be a "dependent" or "neglected" child. If it appears from the petition that neither of said parents is living, or do not reside in the city and that said child has no guardian residing in said city, or in case one or both of said parents, or the guardian in case there be no parents, shall indorse on said petition a request that the child be declared a "dependent child," then the summons herein provided for shall not be issued; and the court may thereupon proceed to a hearing of the case. In case neither of the parents or guardian is found, then the Court shall appoint some suitable person to represent said child in said case.

"Upon such hearing of such case the child shall be brought before said court; whereupon, the court shall investigate the facts, and ascertain whether the child is a "dependent child," its residence, and, as far as possible, the whereabouts of its parents or near adult relatives, when and how long the child has been maintained, in whole or in part, by private or public charity, the occupation of the parents, if living, whether they are supported by the public or have abandoned the child, and to ascertain, as far as possible, if the child is found dependent, the cause thereof. The court may compel the attendance of witnesses on such examination. The city fiscal, when requested by the court, shall appear in any such examination in behalf of the petitioner. It shall be the duty of the city fiscal, upon the request of the court or any petitioner, to file a petition and to conduct any necessary proceedings in any case within the provisions of this article.

"In the hearing of such case, the court shall not be bound to follow the technical rules of evidence. If the said child shall be found after such hearing to be a "dependent" or "neglected" child, as defined herein, it shall be adjudged a "dependent child;" and an order may be entered making such disposition of the care and custody of said child as the court deems best for its moral and physical welfare. It may be turned over to the care and custody of any suitable person or any suitable institution in the city organized for the purpose of caring for "dependent children", and which is able and willing to care for same. If there be no such person or suitable institution, the child shall be referred to the Social Welfare Administration. And when such child is so turned over to the custody of such person or institution, such person or institution shall have the right to the custody of said child, and shall be at all times responsible for its education and maintenance, subject at all times to the order of the court.

"In any case where the court shall award any "dependent" or "neglected" child to the care of any individual or institution, the child, unless otherwise ordered, shall become a ward and be subject to the guardianship of the institution or individual to whose care it is committed. Any institution or individual receiving any such child under the order of the court shall be subject to visitation or inspection by any person appointed by the court for such purpose; and the court, may at any time, require from any institution or person a report containing such information as the court shall deem proper or necessary, to be fully advised as to the care, education, maintenance and moral and physical training of the child, as well as to the standing and ability of such institution or individual to care for such child. The court may change the guardianship of such child, if, at any time, it is made to appear to the court such change is to the best interests of the child. If, in the opinion of the court, the causes of the dependency of any child may be removed under such conditions or supervision for its care, protection and maintenance as may be imposed by the court, so long as it shall be for its best interests, the child may be permitted to remain in its own home and under the care and control of its own parent, parents or guardian, subject to the jurisdiction and direction of the court; and when it shall appear to the court that it is no longer to the best interests of such child to remain with such parents or guardian, the court may proceed to a final disposition of the case.

"In case any child is adjudged to be "dependent" or "neglected" then such parents or guardian shall thereafter have no right over or to the custody or services of said child except upon such conditions in the interest of such child as the court may impose, or where, upon proper proceedings, such child may lawfully be restored to the parents or guardian.

"Sec. 38-D. Proceedings in other cases. In the hearing and disposition of cases other than that covered by the preceding section, the court shall be governed by the Rules of Court and the laws properly applicable in each particular case.

"In cases between husband and wife, and between parent and child, however, the hearings may be held, upon petition of any party, in chamber or with the exclusion of the public. All information obtained at such hearings shall be deemed privileged and confidential and shall not be divulged without approval of the court.

"Sec. 38-E. Appeal from decision and order of the Court. Decisions and orders of the court shall be appealed in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as appeals from the court of first instance.

"Sec. 38-F. The clerk of court and subordinate employees. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court shall be a court of record and shall have a clerk of court and such subordinate employees as may be necessary who shall be appointed in the same manner and shall receive the same compensation as similar officials and employees of the court of first instance.chanrobles virtualaw library

Sec. 2. Upon the organization of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, the Secretary of Justice shall cause all cases and proceedings pending before the municipal court and the court of first instance of Manila properly cognizable by the court herein created to be transferred thereto.chanrobles virtualaw library

Sec. 3. The sum of seventy-five thousand pesos is hereby appropriated, out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the salary and emoluments of the judge and personnel of this court as well as for the rental and other incidental expenses of the court and shall include a similar amount thereafter in the annual general appropriation acts.chanrobles virtualaw library

Sec. 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved: September 9, 1955

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